XDC Nabs Those Elusive VPF Deals – Including WB

By Patrick von Sychowski | May 23, 2008 4:45 am PDT

XDC in Cannes 2008

There will be champagne rather than rose wine or Belgian beer being poured, toasted and drunk tonight in Cannes as XDC announces that they have secured VPF deals with four of the Hollywood studio, including the one that has eluded others, namely with Warner Bros. From Forbes.com:

Broadcast equipment manufacturer EVS said its unit XDC has signed agreements with Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. and The Walt Disney Studios to invest up to 600 million euros in the deployment of up to 8,000 digital cinema installations in Europe.

The roll-out period under the agreement – which will see more than 65 percent of the value of projectors, servers, applications and services being co-financed — will last for a maximum of 5 years, with each digitised screen co-financed over a period of maximum 10 years.

The group also said agreements with two other studios, Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures are in a very advanced stage and are expected to close shortly.

Let us remember how the score card amongst intgrators stacks upso far:

None of these have signed up Warner Bros, with whom XDC has had a good relationship for many years and are now the first to get on board. It would not surprise me if Warner Bros will now come to some sort of VPF agreement with these other third party operators. Not surprisingly WB gets the first quote in the XDC press release:

Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President, International Distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures commented: “Warner Bros. has established a strong working relationship with XDC over the last few years, supplying more digital releases in Europe than any other studio. This is the first digital cinema deployment agreement for Warner Bros. Pictures International, and I’m pleased to be crossing this milestone with a company as experienced and committed as XDC.”

Serge (third from the left in the picture) might not have been in his job a very long time, but he has helped close something that had been dragging on for a long time, but credit goes primarily I believe to the people who have been working behind the scenes for years (you know who you are).

Having been dismissed by many as the digital cinema company that changes business models more often than underwear, XDC might yet get the last laugh by becoming the first in Europe to sign up all six Hollywood studios. They will certainly provide competition to Arts Alliance, which is good for any business. Though even then XDC will face the same problems as other third party integrators face, only more so because it is Europe.

Patrick von Sychowski
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